I often encounter clients who maintain permanent residence status for a long period of time without applying for their Canadian citizenship. For many of them, they just do not think it is necessary.
However, it is always recommended to apply for citizenship if you plan to live in Canada and qualify based on the requirements. An important reason is that regardless of how long you have been a permanent resident, you can lose that status if you commit a crime (depending on its seriousness).
Subsection 36(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act(“IRPA”) states that a permanent resident is inadmissible for “serious criminality”:
a) having been convicted in Canada of an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years, or of an offence under an Act of Parliament for which a term of imprisonment of more than six months has been imposed
Inadmissibility on this basis can lead to loss of status and removal from Canada.
If you are convicted, therefore it is important to determine whether you are convicted of an offence punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years. For example, an offence under subsection 267(b) of the Criminal Code, Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm, is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years. This offence qualifies as “serious criminality “, as it is punishable for a term “not exceeding ten years”, which necessarily includes the possibility of a ten-year Sentence.
It is also necessary to note that subsection 36(3) of the IRPA provides that offences that may be prosecuted either summarily or by indictment are deemed to be indictable offences, even where prosecuted summarily. In other words, hybrid offences committed in Canada are treated as indictable offences regardless of the manner in which they were prosecuted.